Miranda Seymour

Miranda Seymour’s most recent biography was of Mary Shelley. Her Life of Robert Graves will be reissued next month.

Returning to her aunt’s villa in Florence in 1899, after an intense but short-lived affair with Axel Munthe, Ottoline Morrell was an ideal candidate to become one of the acolytes who received intellectual instruction and an occasional chaste kiss from the intelligent, abrasive and mannishly attired châtelaine of Il Palmerino in Fiesole. Vernon Lee, as Violet Paget was widely known,...

Drab Divans: Julian Maclaren-Ross

Miranda Seymour, 24 July 2003

In October 1964, BBC2 put out a programme about literary life in Britain during the Second World War; the contributors included John Betjeman and Cyril Connolly. The show was stolen, however, by a figure in a voluminous overcoat and dark glasses, whose recollections were delivered slowly, deadpan, between puffs on a large cigar. A month later, at the age of 52, Julian Maclaren-Ross died of a...



10 March 1994

Naomi Mitchison remembers having been present at a party in the spring of 1929, during which Laura Riding made her famous leap from – if we include the basement – the third-floor rear window of the maisonette which she shared with Robert Graves in St Peter’s Square, Hammersmith (Letters, 7 April). But there was no party on that occasion. Only Graves, his wife Nancy Nicholson and Geoffrey Taylor...


13 May 1993

Frank Kermode is not taken by Nicola Beauman’s decision to write of ‘Morgan’ and, on occasion, of ‘Morgie’ in her biography of E.M. Forster (LRB, 13 May) It is, he suggests, excessively intimate; her predecessor, P.N. Furbank, ‘was quite right to regard the familiarity implied by regular use of the first name as out of place in a biography written for those who had no claim to it’.I write,...

Gobblebook: Unhappy Ever After

Rosemary Hill, 21 June 2018

A marriage that makes a good end to a comedy will often make as good a beginning to a tragedy. If any couple bore out that maxim it was Annabella Milbanke and George Gordon Byron. The ‘happy’ chapter...

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The Paris-Madrid road race of 1903 was a wonderfully disgraceful affair. Three hundred cars set out, conferring death and dismemberment along the dust-choked roads south. Six of the drivers were...

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Tousy-Mousy: Mary Shelley

Anne Barton, 8 February 2001

Richard Holmes published Shelley: The Pursuit in 1974. More than a decade later, in Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (1985), he recalled how obsessive his engagement gradually...

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Old Gravy

Mark Ford, 7 September 1995

‘Since the age of 15 poetry has been my ruling passion and I have never intentionally undertaken any task or formed any relationship that seemed inconsistent with poetic principles; which...

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